How do you make a horse go? You kick him right? What if he doesn’t go? You kick him again, harder! But it’s like speaking English to a China-man. If he doesn’t understand – yell louder in English!
Basically, horses don’t come from the factory already taught that a squeeze of the leg means to move forward. It is necessary to teach them the meaning of the leg signal. One way to do that is to begin with the round pen or the longe using a stick or dressage whip to shake at the colt, or tap him to get him to go forward, which he will probably do to escape from you. Over time the touch of the stick becomes the cue to go. If you then work alongside the horse from the ground, you can use a tap of the stick to encourage forward movement. I actually add The verbal cue of clucking with my tongue. When he does go forward, I quit tapping with the stick and clucking the tongue. This way he learns that the way to make the tapping and clucking stop is to move forward.
Now we get on the saddle. When we’re ready to move we nudge the horse with a soft leg signal. Since he has no idea what that means, we follow it with a tap of the stick and a cluck. When he moves we quit asking, we don’t tap or squeeze the leg anymore. Over time the horse will associate the soft leg signal with the tap of the stick, and you will not have to kick to go, you’ll have a soft “go – button”.